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2
May

You can grab an unlocked BlackBerry Priv for just $380 at eBay right now!


If you have been waiting for the price to drop below $400 to pick up a BlackBerry Priv, your time has come. Right now, you can pick one up at eBay for just $380, which is the lowest we have seen it yet. Recently Newegg offered the phone for $400, and before that it was available for $450.

blackberry-priv-back.jpg?itok=11aMTbEq

Considering that Marshmallow has begun rolling out already, and will hit carrier variants in just a few days, it makes it an even better value to grab one now. This is an unlocked AT&T model, but the listing is for a brand-new unit. If you are interested, be sure to grab one from the link below before they are all gone.

See at eBay

2
May

Berlin bans renting whole apartments through Airbnb


One of the biggest concerns with Airbnb is its effect on housing prices — when people turn entire apartments into makeshift hotels, it tends to drive up apartment rental rates and punish locals searching for homes. Berlin isn’t having any of it, though. After a two-year transition period, the German city has enacted a new law (the oh-so-catchy “Zweckenfremdungsverbot”) that bans short-term rentals of whole apartments through Airbnb and similar online services. You’re now restricted to renting individual rooms unless you get a special permit.

Not everyone is happy with the move. Critics speaking to AFP are concerned that this is a ham-fisted attempt at making up for poor housing policies, or else an attempt to protect the hotel industry. There’s also a lawsuit alleging that the rules violate Berlin’s constitution. Airbnb, meanwhile, would prefer a compromise. It wants Berlin to “follow the example” of major cities like Hamburg, which explicitly lets you rent your entire home so long as it’s your normal residence.

Whatever the concerns, it’s doubtful the city will change its mind quickly. Although Berlin is still relatively affordable as far as Europe goes, rents surged 56 percent between 2009 and 2014. However much Airbnb contributed to that increase, officials likely want to eliminate anything that could artificially boost housing prices.

Via: The Independent

Source: AFP (The Local)

2
May

Uber drivers in New York State begin to organize


Over 1,000 Uber drivers in New York have formed a labor association, less than two weeks after Uber agreed to allow the practice as part of a $100 million settlement. Known as “Alles,” for the Amalgamated Local of Livery Employees in Solidarity (Uber Alles?), the association is not the same as a trade union. However, it will be able to bring grievances against Uber management, help drivers negotiate with car and insurance companies and lobby government to change labor laws, according to Reuters.

Uber drivers fought to gain employee status in California, and are trying to form a trade union in Seattle. New York’s Alles isn’t a trade union, however, and Uber drivers still aren’t employees, so it won’t be able to negotiate driver fees, which are fixed by the ridesharing service. However, Uber agreed to allow labor associations as part of the terms of its settlement with Massachusetts and California, and New York drivers quickly took advantage. “Since Uber management controls the fares charged for the service, drivers want and need security and protection,” Alles said in a statement.

Source: Reuters

2
May

LG’s phone fingerprint sensor doesn’t need a button


Existing phone fingerprint readers are less than ideal. When they’re on the back, you can’t sign in while the phone sits on your desk; on the front, they chew up valuable device real estate; on the side, they’re tiny. That’s where LG Innotek might just come to the rescue. It developed a fingerprint sensor that hides just under the cover glass on a mobile device, saving space while giving your digits an easy target. On top of that, it can actually be more effective than a dedicated button. It’s extremely accurate (the failure rate is just 0.002 percent), and the stealthy approach protects the reader against scratches and water.

LG hasn’t said how soon you could expect to see its undercover biometric tech in action, and it hasn’t named any customers. However, it’s reasonable to believe that LG itself could be first on deck. The company is a big proponent of both fingerprint readers and extremely space-efficient devices, so you could see this in its next wave of smartphones. The real question is whether or not other big companies will bite — they tend to either have their own fingerprint tech (such as Apple) or are reluctant to support a competitor (Samsung).

Source: LG Innotek

2
May

Apple Maps Gains Transit in Rio de Janeiro Ahead of Summer Olympics


In time for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Apple Maps now supports transit routing in Rio de Janeiro, the second most populous city in Brazil.

Transit directions are available for travel by bus, ferry, metro, and train throughout the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, including connections to and from Belford Roxo, Duque de Caxias, Itaboraí, Japeri, Magé, Mesquita, Nilópolis, Niterói, Nova Iguaçu, Queimados, São Gonçalo, and São João de Meriti.

Supported transit operators include Internorte, Intersul, Metrô Rio, SuperVia, and others.

Rio de Janeiro is the fifth new city to support Apple Maps transit over the past month, alongside Austin, Montreal, Portland, and Seattle.

Apple added Transit to Maps as part of iOS 9 in select cities around the world, including Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, and 30 cities in China. Additional regions should be added over the coming weeks and months.

(Thanks, Ram!)

Tags: Apple Maps, Brazil, Transit
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2
May

Hulu Planning Live Cable TV Service With Partners Including Disney and Fox


Streaming service Hulu is said to be working on a new subscription model that would provide customers with cable-style access to popular broadcast television networks.

In a report by The Wall Street Journal, sources close to the plan said the company’s move would directly introduce Hulu as “a competitor to traditional pay-TV providers,” in addition to streaming-only services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Hulu’s current launch estimate for the cable-like service is sometime early in 2017, and a few partners are already mentioning interest in the program. Disney and Fox are said to be close to signing agreements to provide “many of their channels” to Hulu and its subscribers on the live platform. Some of their networks include ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Fox’s basic broadcast channels, Fox News, and FX.

The company’s ultimate goal with the new service may disappoint cord-cutters looking for a complete replacement for their cable box, as those close to Hulu’s plans mentioned it “isn’t looking to offer all the hundreds of channels found in the traditional cable bundle.” Still, Hulu is seeking other partners in addition to Disney and Fox, who are both co-owners of Hulu.

Hulu sees an opportunity to pitch its planned service to the more than 10 million people who already subscribe to its on-demand service. Consumers don’t need to be an existing Hulu subscriber to sign up for the new service, which has yet to be named.

In addition to live TV, the unnamed service is rumored to provide users with a cloud-based DVR, letting them record shows and set scheduled tapings similar to current offerings by cable providers. Due to all of these prime features, the current estimated cost of Hulu’s live TV plan would be $40 per month, according to Sanford C. Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger. That price was said to be “in the ballpark” by a Hulu executive.

Netflix can be relatively quick in getting up full seasons of recently-aired shows after their finales launch, but it largely depends on the cable network and even then it can be a few weeks to months until they’re available on the streaming platform. Hulu has always been ahead of its rivals in providing users access to recently aired TV episodes, launching them one at a time a day after they air, but its new plan would go one step further and let subscribers watch specific TV channels live.

As more customers leave behind cable companies, streaming services are becoming increasingly interested in standalone TV packages such as the one Hulu is looking into launching. Premium channels like Showtime and HBO already have their own specific services, and Apple was even attempting to get a similar $30-$40 web-based TV package launched last year, but failed deals with networks caused the company to put its plans on hold.

Tag: Hulu
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2
May

Best 4K TVs: Ultra HD televisions to buy in 2016


Right from the beginning of the year it was clear that we were finally to get the 4K Ultra HD revolution we’ve been promised for a while.

CES 2016 was swimming in 4K sets, most with high dynamic range (HDR) technology too. They have since started to appear in retail for you to buy.

Their release has also prompted the dropping of prices of a few of last year’s models, many of which are still very capable and worth considering if you are in the market for a new TV.

You do need to be careful in your choice though. With 4K Blu-ray players and content now available, and Amazon and Netflix providing 4K video streams, often with HDR too, you need to consider what the next TV you buy is going to be used for.

Some older UHD TVs – called “legacy televisions” in the industry – aren’t compatible with some Ultra High Definition video delivery systems. 4K Blu-ray, for example, requires HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.2 content protection support to work, which many older sets do not have – even if they have the correct resolution.

Best 4K TVs with HDR

Then there is the aforementioned HDR technology that 4K Blu-ray, Netflix, Amazon Video and many newer TVs support. It gives better contrast (control over the extreme differences between bright and dark areas in a picture) and, as a by-product, a wider colour gamut. You don’t necessarily need HDR on your set, but it’s a nice futureproof feature for sure.

READ: What is 4K UHD? Ultra-High Definition explained, and why it matters for your next TV

So, in no particular order, here are our picks of tellies available or yet to come later this year that we think you should consider. Some are even a year old but still meet the grade. We also think there’s something for everyone, whatever your budget.

LG Electronics

LG 65EF950V

Winner of the best TV prize at last year’s EE Pocket-lint Gadgets Awards, the LG 950V OLED TV is available now and was the first flat panel 4K television the company made using its OLED screen technology (the rest were curved).

It’s currently available for less than £3,700 – which might seem a heck of a lot for a telly, but considering it is a 65-inch set and features the deepest black levels you can get right now, that is reasonable in comparison to peers.

It has three HDMI 2.0 ports that each have HDCP 2.2 compliance, so are good to go with any 4K external sources available now or in the future. And it is compatible with HDR content, so even though OLED as a technology cannot quite reach the brightness of an LED set, it has a quite simply incredible contrast range and colour fidelity thanks to the deepest blacks around.

There is also a 55-inch model available, at less than £2,000, if your budget or size requirements are smaller.

READ MORE LG 65EF950V 4K OLED review

Samsung

Samsung UE65JS9500

An awards nominee, the curved Samsung UE65JS9500 is also available now and features, what Samsung likes to call, SUHD technology. This uses Nano Crystal tech (otherwise known as “Quantum Dot”) to deliver a wider colour range, while a brightness of up to 1,000nits enables the TV to be HDR capable.

Like many if not all of the TVs we’ll feature in this round-up, the Samsung has access to 4K Netflix and Amazon Video services, as well as support for the highest resolutions through YouTube.

Connectivity is through a separate connections box, which can also be upgraded independently from the TV panel in future, and there are four HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.2 compliance.

You can currently buy the 65-incher for less than £3,200.

READ MORE Samsung UE65JS9500 4K TV review

Pocket-lint

LG 55EG960V

LG’s currently available curved 4K OLED TV is the 960V and strangely, it’s not as futureproofed as the flat 950V model.

That’s because it doesn’t have HDR support, although that might not matter to many because the OLED pictures are so rich and colour saturated already. It also only has two HDMI ports with HDCP 2.2 compliance, unlike the company’s other screen. There is another regular HDMI port though, for connection to lesser sources.

LG has started its rollout of replacement TVs to this so you might be able to pick one up for the relatively bargain price of less than £2,000.

READ MORE LG 55EG960V 4K OLED TV review

Pocket-lint

Panasonic Viera TX-55CX802

Panasonic’s 4K 55-inch LED TV was one of the first to market with Freeview Play – the free-to-air service’s on demand offerings – and has the Firefox OS smart TV system for app support.

It also has local dimming, where the backlight LEDs are in the rear of the set rather than the side, so dark areas can remain at their darkest, while brighter areas are given individual treatment.

Panasonic promised HDR support in the near future too, so while we’re still awaiting news on whether it has arrived, that ensures that the TV is futureproofed in that area. It also sports three HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.2 compliance each.

READ MORE Panasonic Viera TX-55CX802 review

Sony

Sony Bravia X94C

Sony’s top 2015 model, the X94C, is one of the biggest TVs we’ve reviewed on Pocket-lint. We focused on the 75-inch model – the KD-75X9405C – and it’s even larger than most because the speakers are mounted on either side.

For such a massive TV, it is now available for around £4,000 if you shop about, and that’s not bad for both the size and the fact that it was one of the best, if not the best televisions available last year.

It is HDR compatible and there are four HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.2 compliance. It also has Android TV as its smart TV platform, so hundreds of apps are available for it through Google Play.

If you are looking to fill a room with a TV, this is the one to go for.

READ MORE Sony Bravia X94C 4K TV review

Pocket-lint

Philips PUS8601

The 55-inch 4K Philips PUS8601 we reviewed in February wowed us with its abilities. It will also be HDR-ready soon, after an update.

Perhaps the most immediate wow factor from the off though is its four-sided Ambilight. Philips TVs have long adopted rear projected LED lights that reflect the colours shown on screen onto your rear wall, and this set is no different. The effect can be spectacular and immersive.

There are better TVs out there for picture quality, but the PUS8601 is just £1,700 – inexpensive for a 55-incher.

It also has two HDMI 2.0 outputs with HDCP 2.2 compliance (alongside a couple of older spec inputs) so it is as futureproof as they come. And it runs Android TV as its smart platform, so that improves rapidly with new apps all the while.

READ MORE Philips PUS8601 4K TV with 4-sided Ambilight review: Colour us impressed

Pocket-lint

LG Signature G6 OLED TV

The 65-inch LG Signature high-end OLED television completely blew us away when we saw it on the LG stand at this year’s CES trade show. Coming with the model number 65G6P, the set features a superslim OLED panel stuck to a single sheet of glass, so its width is the equivalent of just four credit cards. Astounding.

In terms of picture quality, we’ve also seen nothing that can compare for colour fidelity or black levels. It is HDR compatible, but adds Dolby Vision technology to the mix. And it has support for all the codecs needed to accept Ultra HD content from any source, streamed or via physical media.

Connectivity is through a base that can also flip up for wall-mounting purposes, and while we’re not 100 per cent certain how many HDMI sockets it will sport, they will all be HDCP 2.2, you can be guaranteed.

Although we’re still awaiting a UK price and release date, it has been confirmed that the 65-inch model costs $8,000 (around £5,500) in the States. A staggeringly beautiful 77-inch model will also be available.

READ MORE LG Signature OLED TV preview

Pocket-lint

Hisense 43H7C

Although Hisense’s new entry-level 4K LED TV for 2016 won’t be able to compete with the flagship tellies from other brands, it is highly notable for one major aspect; its price.

The 43-inch model will cost just $400 (£280) when it goes on sale later this year, which is even more remarkable considering it features HDR picture technology.

That makes it a shoo-in to look out for if you are on a tight budget. There are also 50, 55 and 65-inch models coming too, ranging from $550 to $1,300.

The HDMI ports will all be HDCP 2.2 compliant, and the set will come with a 4K media player built-in.

READ MORE Hisense 43H7C preview

Hisense

Hisense 75M7900

One bargain Hisense set that is already available is the 75M7900. It’s a 75-inch 4K TV with HDR for just £2,499.

As well as the (massive) screen technology and resolution, the 75M7900 has four HDMI sockets, two of which being HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2. It also comes with three USB ports, with one being USB 3.0.

A quad-core processor handles the smart TV functionality, with Netflix and Amazon Video both available with 4K streaming. BBC iPlayer is confirmed to be on board too.

The 75-inch is available in stores now.

READ MORE You won’t believe how little you’ll pay for this 75-inch 4K HDR TV

Pocket-lint

Panasonic 58DX902

Featuring, like most of the top-end 4K TVs for 2016, official Ultra HD Premium certification, the 58-inch Panasonic 58DX902 is a high quality HDR set and no mistake.

Even THX – the home cinema quality assurance group – has awarded it 4K certification, so you can bet it is capable of presenting movie playback in the manner the director originally intended.

Like the CX80 mentioned above, it comes with Freeview Play on board in the UK, and the Firefox OS app store. It can also achieve 1,000nits of brightness across the screen to really make HDR video zing.

The 58-incher costs around £2,800 and is available now. There is also be a 65-inch model for around £3,300.

READ MORE Panasonic DX900 UHD Premium TV preview

Pocket-lint

Samsung KS9500 SUHD TV

Samsung’s big CES reveal, which will be available to buy later this year, was the 88-inch KS9500 SUHD TV with Quantum Dot technology.

The company has firmly stood behind curved screen tech in recent years and shows no sign of shifting, with the KS9500 featuring a superslim LED panel that gives OLED a run for its money.

One of the highlight features of the TV is its ability to achieve great brightness, but not at the expense of black levels. Like others, it is capable of reaching 1,000nits of brightness, presenting incredible depth in HDR images.

The company has also completely reworked its smart TV platform to be much more user friendly and put content rather than just apps to the forefront. It also comes with access to Sony’s PlayStation Now cloud gaming service.

The KS9500 is still yet to make it into UK stores, but the 55-inch version of this year’s KS9000 curved SUHD TV with Quantum Dot technology is available now, at around £2,100. 

READ MORE Samsung KS9500 SUHD TV puts premium first, this is what the 4K HDR future looks like

Pocket-lint

Sony XD93

Sony’s new 65-inch XD93 TV was definitely a draw on its stand at CES – most likely because its the only set (alongside the 55-inch model) to come from the company in 2016 that will feature HDR.

It features “Slim Backlight Drive” technology with local dimming, so can light up zones on the set when brightness is most needed. It’s still edge-lit, we suspect, but uses clever grid-based algorithms to focus the light in a more pinpoint manner.

It is also an Android TV, so has access to the world of apps and games that Google Play has to offer.

We’re still awaiting pricing and release details for the 65-incher, but from what we saw at the show, the set is a stunner. It could even be the best TV the company has made to date.

The 55XD93 is available now, however, for around £2,000.

READ MORE Sony XD93 with 4K HDR could well be the best TV Sony has ever made

As we get to see and review more 4K TVs at Pocket-lint throughout the year we’ll update this feature, so check back whenever you can.

2
May

Leica’s M-D is a digital camera for manual purists


You may be able to live without WiFi on your camera, but would you be willing to ditch JPEG capture, autofocus and any kind of electronic screen? Oh, and pay $6,000 for the privilege, plus thousands more for a lens? If not, you don’t fit into Leica’s target market for its latest model, the 24-megapixel M-D. The company calls it a “purely functional” camera that’s “radically reduced to the most important parameters required for photography — shutter speed, aperture, distance and ISO sensitivity.”

The camera is essentially a Leica M model without an LCD screen. So, forget about reviewing your images afterwards, and with the optical rangefinder, you focus like it’s 1955, snapping when two superimposed images come together. The viewfinder has a 0.68x magnification, with markings to help you frame shots for 35/135mm, 28/90mm and 50/75mm lenses.

Normally we’d mention additional features, but instead let’s detail what else it lacks: It doesn’t shoot JPEG stills (only RAW), there’s no video capture, ISO range is limited to 200-6400 and, of course, there’s no menu system — just manual dials for aperture, shutter speed and ISO. However, it does have a nearly silent shutter release, a full-frame CMOS sensor, a top brass plate and 3fps continuous shooting speed. The company also omitted the typical “red dot” branding “in favor of its unobtrusive appearance.”

We can’t imagine too many folks, especially professional shooters, who’d be willing to give up the ability to quickly review photos. On the other hand, there’s something appealing about the lack of a screen, as you’re forced to give up any sloppy habits and concentrate on each photo. If you’re into purism for the sake of purism and have an extra $6,000 lying around, your camera has arrived.

Source: Leica

2
May

Tesla’s Model 3 will be sold with a Ludicrous Mode option


The Model 3 might be Tesla’s most affordable electric car, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to feel slow off the starting line. Tesla founder Elon Musk has confirmed that the new vehicle will be available with a Ludicrous Mode option, vastly improving its acceleration. The exact change in performance? For now that’s still a mystery, but as means of comparison the standard Model 3 can go from zero to 60MPH in “under six seconds.” Anything lower and it’ll be competitive with the base-level Model S.

The much-anticipated Model 3 was announced at the end of March. Musk had promised a starting price of $35,000, which many believe is the threshold for mass adoption. The Model S and Model X, while impressive and desirable, are out of most people’s price range. That was almost by design, however, so that Tesla could focus on the underlying technology and not on fulfilling tremendous order numbers. The company’s efforts have also encouraged other manufacturers to get into EV production, slowly improving public awareness and global charging infrastructure. Now, the company believes the time is right for a truly mass-market Tesla.

Customers will have to wait though. The first vehicles are expected to ship in 2017, starting in the US. The company has warned that it’ll be a staggered roll-out — with over 300,000 pre-orders, it could be a while before the most recent backers are handed their keys. Still, at first blush it appears to be an impressive vehicle. It’s has a sleek design, 215 miles of range, “Autopilot” assistance and, of course, Supercharger support. Now, the challenge for Tesla is to actually to follow through on its promises.

Including a Model 3 with Ludicrous Mode.

Via: Business Insider

Source: Elon Musk (Twitter)

2
May

Hulu is working on a live TV service for cord-cutters


Hulu is reportedly working on a new live TV platform that’s designed to tempt cable subscribers to cut the cord. The Wall Street Journal believes that Hulu has ambitions to square off against both domestic cable providers as well as Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Rather than trying to broadcast every channel in existence, it’s claimed that the company will focus on quality over quantity. Given that Hulu is part-owned by Disney and 20th Century Fox, you can assume that ABC, ESPN and Fox will be lynchpins of the new platform. The same report explains that Hulu will enable customers to record their own shows in the cloud, rather than on a DVR.

Negotiations are still at an early stage and no firm details have been released, although the WSJ pegs the expected price at around $40 a month. It’s also suggested that the service will launch at the start of 2017 and will court Hulu’s 10 million-plus users who already pay for its product. It does, however, also mean that yet another streaming provider (with its own content) wants to get into the scrap for your subscription dollars. Between this, Netflix, Amazon, HBO Now, Seeso, CBS All Access, Starz, FilmStruck and YouTube Red, you might wonder if cord-cutting was such a good idea after all.

Source: WSJ

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